The 27-year-old sank a 10-foot eagle putt on the first playoff hole to defeat close friend Chris Greenwood (Valdese, N.C.) in the fourth consecutive Tour event to go into extra holes. Both Slawter and Greenwood wound up the four-day event at 22-under, a new Eagle Creek tournament record. Rich Massey (Harrington Park, N.J.) finished two shots back, while Winnipegs Todd Fanning and Steve Woods of Pleasanton, Calif. finished tied for fourth at 19-under. Craig Matthew (Ile Bizard, QC) was sixth, which virtually assured him a berth in both PGA Tour events to be staged in Canada next month, the Bell Canadian Open and the Air Canada Championship.
Following a third and two-second place results earlier this year, Slawter, who was talked into joining the Canadian Tour this year by Greenwood, was able to step into the winners circle for the first time.
After (finishing second in) Winnipeg, I called Chris and thanked him for the advice, laughed Slawter after posting rounds of 64-66-68-68. I think being in the lead for most of the day, had I lost this one, it would have stung a little more than the others.
But the victory certainly didnt come without drama. Minutes after Greenwood grabbed par on the 577-yard, par-5 final hole to stay tied, Slawter, playing in the group behind, had a chance to win it outright. But his second shot from 214 yards out found water, and Greenwood, watching from the 18th green, walked towards the scoring tent, confident he would, at worst, be in a playoff. Hitting his fourth shot from 177 yards, Slawter hooked a 6-iron to within nine feet and then snuck the putt through the side door to stay alive.
One way or another, I was going for the green (in regulation). Sometimes when you make a mistake like that, you tend to just drop the ball and hit it too quick. But I stayed patient, marched off the distance and made sure I took my time.
With the win, Slawter moves into third place on the McDonalds Order of Merit. Should he maintain that position through next weeks Aliant Cup in St. Johns, NF, he would be exempted into both the Bell Canadian Open and the ACC. Tentatively scheduled to team with Greenwood at the Casino de Charlevoix Cup in Quebec, a match play event with Tour members taking on the Quebec PGA during the first week of September, Slawter would be happy with either scenario.
If I get to play in those two PGA events, greatif not, I get to play a few rounds with my good buddy.
Greenwood, meanwhile, was pleased with his showing and knew in order to keep his partner for Charlevoix, he would have to win the tournament.
For Mark and myself to meet in a playoff, that was the best thing that could have happened to either of us, he said following his best-ever Tour finish. All day, I wanted him and I to play for it, one-on-one. I told Ray (tournament director Ray Horne) before the playoff that I would have to beat him to keep him as my partner in Quebec.
Sitting tied with Slawter for top spot heading into Sunday, Fanning had yet another close call in his quest for that elusive first Canadian Tour win after winding up in second place four times. With Eagle Creek owner and sponsor Andre Lacasse looking on, along with the largest gallery of the weekend, Fanning put up the type of numbers that would have won most other tournaments.
You cant tell me that 19-under isnt good enough to win at this course, he reasoned. Its an unbelievable score-a couple of other guys just played better.
Dave Pashko of Richmond Hill, ON established a new Eagle Creek course record by firing a 10-under 62, eclipsing the old mark that had been tied by three others this week. The 32-year-old birdied five consecutive holes on the front nine before draining a 60-foot eagle putt on the final hole for the record.
I read in the paper this morning that Todd (Fanning) had said the way things were going, a course record could be in the house by the time he teed off, he said after moving from 1 to 11-under for the tournament. And the first guy I see on the putting green when I come off is Todd. This is definitely surprising, but it was there for the taking.
Full-field scores from the Eagle Creek Classic